The Palestinian Centre for
Human Rights has issued a report, entitled “Suffering in Isolation: A report
on life under occupation in the Mawasi areas in the Gaza Strip.” The report details the dire situation in the
Mawasi areas in the southern Gaza Strip and includes an examination of the
violations of international human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated by
the Israeli belligerent occupation forces and Israeli settlers in the area from
the beginning of Al Aqsa Intifada (September 2000) to the end of May 2003.
The Mawasi areas are
‘Yellow Areas’ as defined in the Oslo Agreement (1995) and as such, fall under
Israeli security jurisdiction, while the Israeli settlements located within the
same area are governed by Israeli civil law. The Mawasi areas continue be under
a strict military siege and all aspects of life are greatly hindered by the
extreme measures imposed by the Israeli forces controlling the area.
The Mawasi area was chosen as a prime example of the matrix of control
that Israel exerts over the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The report
details the impact of the Israeli settlements that are located in close
proximity to Palestinian villages and towns and focuses on the impact of
Israel’s so-called ‘security’ measures on the fundamental rights of the
inhabitants of the area.
The report is based on extensive
research conducted by a PCHR researcher, assisted by PCHR field workers, the
communities of the Khan Yunis and Rafah Mawasi areas and various international
organisations. As well as specific references to violations of international
human rights and humanitarian law, the report also provides victim’s statements
and eyewitness accounts.
Since its establishment in
1995, PCHR has published a number of reports detailing specific violations of
international human rights and humanitarian law in the OPTs. PCHR published a
previous report in 1998 on the status of the ‘Yellow Areas’, with specific
reference to the situation in the Mawasi.
PCHR sincerely hopes that
this report will contribute to raising awareness about the ongoing
deterioration of the humanitarian and human rights situation in the Mawasi
area, which is a clear example of the de facto apartheid situation that exists
throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories.